Shopping

The information on this page is likely to come in handy for both prospective residents and tourists alike, however, if you're looking for information about the best places to buy souvenirs you may find our town center guide more uself. An interactive map which displays the locations of all major outlets can be found at the bottom of this page.

Supermarkets

If you're looking to stock up on supplies then your best bet is to head for Maezato's retail area, which is located just a few minute's drive from the airport. It is home to the main 24hr branch of Max Value in addition to Sanee, which is located just up the road behind McDonalds. There are a couple of large drug stores in the area along with several other shops which are likely to come in handy.

Max valueMax Value has four branches across the city, the one in the Maezato retail park being the largest.
kanehideLocated in Tonoshiro, Kanehide is regarded as being Ishigaki's cheapest supermarket.

Max Value, which is owned by Japan's nationwide Aeon group, has four large branches in Ishigaki. In addition there are two other supermarkets, Kanehide and Sanee, which together do a pretty good job of preventing Max Value from developing a monopoly on the island. Kanehide is regarded as being Ishigaki's cheapest supermarket, and is favoured by locals seeking bargains on frozen food bulk buys etc. Some people turn their nose up at Kanehide, but the quality of their stock is actually quite good. Sanee is similar in this respect, although foreigners occasionally comment that it offers the best selection of western-style food. It also has a large clothing department on its second floor. All supermarkets offer ready-made bentou boxes, sushi and sashimi.

One thing which most foreigners pick up on quickly is the price of vegetables. Depending on the season shops can ask as much as 200 Yen for two carrots or two modestly-sized potatoes; life on the island for vegetarians can be quite expensive. Meat is reasonably priced, and is far less susceptible to seasonal price fluctuations than vegetables. The exception is locally-produced Ishigaki beef, which is around 3 times the price of beef imported from Australia and New Zealand.

Electrical goods

Although there are some electrical outlets on the island our advice would be to buy any small electrical items / accessories on the mainland or in your home country before you travel to Ishigaki. There are two 'Best Denki' outlets on the island, with the main branch being located to the west of the city center (the range of goods here is significantly wider than that of the Tonoshiro branch). In addition you may try Big One or Make Man, both of which have electrical departments.

Fishing and Snorkeling Gear

fishing storeFishing is extremely popular and there are no shortage of 'tsurigu' (fishing gear) outlets in the city center. You can't go far wrong if you head for either 'Nakamura Tsurigu' or 'Sougou Tsurigu'. Sougou (pictured) is the largest of the two stores and is found next to the Southern Gate Bridge. Nakamura is located conveniently close to the town center.

Both of these stores (Nakamura in particular) stock a reasonable selection of snorkel sets and fins, and when it comes to basic equipment prices compare well with those of specialist dive shops on the island.

Clothing

When it comes to clothes shopping options are rather limited, and for this reason you can pretty much wear whatever you want on the island without anybody batting an eyelid. Outlets in the town center generally cater to tourists by stocking beachwear and souvenir T-shirts etc. Sanee has a reasonable clothing department on its second floor, or you could head for Shimamura, a large shop which people jokingly say represents the height of fashion on Ishigaki island – owing to the fact that it's cheap-as-chips and you'll be lucky to find a brand that you recognise.

Footwear

In terms of reasonably-priced footwear Foot Park offers the best selection on the island. It has a wide range of trainers (sneakers), hiking boots, and is great if you're looking for a cheap pair of plastic flip-flops for the beach. Located just across the road from Make Man in Maezato. There is also a sports shop in the city center, but it is comparatively expensive.

Make Man

make manMake Man is a modern homebase-style outlet which is located in Maezato, just down the road from Max Value. Its name suggests a hardware / gardening store, but with the exception of groceries it stocks pretty much everything – electrical goods, power tools, furniture, office supplies, bikes, tents, beach parasols...you name it. This is a store which is more likely to appeal to residents rather than tourists. A word of warning - stay in Make Man long enough and the shop's endlessly repeating jingle may drive you round the bend.

Big One

big oneIf you live in Ishigaki then there's a good chance that you'll end up visiting Big One from time to time. Its exterior portrays the image of a rather low-budget general store, but in actual fact it's both well stocked and competitively priced. It sells pretty much anything from soft drinks and shampoo all the way up to computer peripherals and flat panel televisions. Located in Tonoshiro not far from Best Denki and Kanehide.

100 Yen Store

No Japanese town would be complete without a hundred yen store. Ishigaki's is found next door to the main branch of Max Value in Maezato. While the vast majority of items in the store are 100 Yen there are exceptions, but such items are clearly priced. No price tag means 100 Yen (plus sales tax).
 
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